A Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) charge can be a stressful and frightening event. For the most part, people charged with this crime are normal everyday people with families, friends, and jobs. Brandon DUI lawyer Adam Bantner recognizes the importance of one’s ability to drive in maintaining those relationships and employment. You have a lot riding on the successful outcome of your DUI case; which is why Adam fights hard to challenge every aspect of a DUI charge. The defense of a DUI begins as soon as you take advantage of your free consultation with your defense attorney by calling 813.397.3965.
If you are arrested for DUI, immediately begin compiling a list of people who may be potential witnesses for your defense. Include people who were with you that can testify as to how much you were or were not drinking and whether you appeared under the influence. Also, if you were out at a restaurant or bar, please obtain a copy of all receipts that would show how many alcoholic beverages you bought. Your defense attorney will need this information to adequately prepare your case for a trial or motion hearing.
The Bantner Firm will challenge every step in the investigative process that lead up to your DUI arrest.
A critical stage in the investigation is when an officer asks a person to exit a vehicle. In order to make this request, the officer must possess “a well-founded and articulable suspicion of criminal activity.” Popple v. State, 626 So.2d 185 (Fla. 1993).
With regards to a DUI, a court will look at your driving pattern, your interaction with law enforcement, and any physical clues of impairment to see whether this standard has been met. Having simply consumed alcohol (typically indicated by the odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from one’s breath), is not sufficient by itself. State v. Austin, 26 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 440a (Fla. Seminole Co. Ct., 2018).
The Field Sobriety Exercises, or FSEs, are the standard tests an officer will request of a suspected drunk driver. The battery of typical tests are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk-and-Turn (WAT), and One-Leg Stand (OLS). The most “scientific” of these is the HGN test, but even nystagmus (an involuntary twitching of the eyes) can be caused by things other than alcohol consumption, such as lack of sleep and allergies. With regards to the WAT and OLS, these exercises are not deemed valid for folks over a certain age, with physical disabilities, and those who are obese.
Regardless of the validity of the exercises, an officer must possess at least reasonable suspicion of driving under the influence before even requesting that a driver perform the exercises. State v. Ameqrane, 39 So. 3d 339, 341 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010). Reasonable suspicion must be more than just a mere hunch that the driver is impaired by alcohol consumption. Maldonado v. State, 992 So. 2d 839, 842 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008). Lastly, the odor of an alcoholic beverage on a person’s breath combined with speeding does not rise to the level of reasonable suspicion. Dixon v. DHSMV, 26 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 730a (Fla. 18th Cir. Ct. 2018).
Simply put, a blood test to determine its alcoholic content can be requested under Florida’s Implied Consent law if a person suspected of DUI appears at a hospital or other medical facility and a breath or urine test is impossible or impractical. Fla. Stat. 316.1932(c). A blood test can be compelled if a person suspected of DUI has caused a death or serious bodily injury to another human being. Fla. Stat. 316.1933(1).
If an officer makes a request outside of those two situations, the officer must make it clear to the driver that it is only offered as an alternative to a breath or urine test and that there will not be any consequences from any refusal to take the blood test. Davis v. DHSMV, 26 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 477a (Fla. 15th Cir. Ct. 2008). However, the Fourth District Court of Appeal recently held that such an advisement is not necessary when nothing in the record indicates that such consent is involuntary. State v. Meyers, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2647b (Fla. 4th DCA 2018).
Once DUI lawyer Adam Bantner is retained to handle your charges, he will examine the facts of your case and determine the most appropriate method of challenging your case. Your DUI attorney will determine whether the stopping officer had probable cause that your committed a traffic violation or whether he had reasonable suspicion of DUI to justify the initial stop. If he did not have the appropriate level of suspicion, Adam may be able to get all evidence of impairment thrown out of the case.
Call us today at 813.397.3965!